TENNIS’ most prestigious and coveted tournament commences today, with most of the big names ready to battle it out for some shiny new trophies. Ahead of the action beginning there are plenty of storylines to follow. Can either a rested Federer or a tired, yet in-form Nadal continue their 2017 resurgence? Will Djokovic or Murray rebound to hoist a Grand Slam trophy for the first time this year? Can anyone break into the ‘Big 4’ of the mens bracket? With Serena sidelined with her bub, can anyone in the women’s bracket stand up? Will Angelique Kerber’s bad form continue and see her lose her #1 ranking? So many questions, so little time.

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Ladies Bracket

I stated that the ladies draw at the French Open was wide open, with almost every top 10 lady a threat for the title. Fast forward to the present and unseeded Jeļena Ostapenko’s maiden Grand Slam victory later and the ‘anything is possible’ moniker is still with this bracket. There is a logjam at the top of the WTA rankings and I’m tipping one woman to step up and claim this ‘Serena-less’ field as her own and perhaps the No. 1 ranking in the process.

Dark Horse – Ash Barty
HER youth cost her in the Birmingham Classic last weekend, but don’t let that fool you, Barty is a chance to upset. She held a 1-0 lead over Petra Kvitova, whom many are picking to win in London, before eventually losing in three sets. Barty meets with 4th seeded Elina Svitolina in the 1st round, but should she pull off the huge upset, the skies the limit for the young Aussie.

Wimbledon Preview 1Image from tennis.com.au

Bust – Elina Svitolina
IT’S tough not to pick Angelique Kerber given her poor form as of late, but Elina Svitolina seems like the biggest name who will struggle. Regardless on if she makes it past Aussie Ash Barty in the first round, Svitolina has never made it past the second round at Wimbledon, a trend that I think continues in 2017.

Bold Prediction
Angelique Kerber will shake off her struggles and make the semi’s and Jelena Ostapenko, the winner at Roland Garros, will prove she isn’t a one hit wonder with a deep run into the quarters.

Final – Karolina Pliskova vs. Petra Kvitova
WITH 1,003 different potential finals combinations the women’s bracket should once again provide us with plenty of highlights and storylines, much like the French Open did. Most of the experts are backing in Kvitova to claim her 3rd title at the All-England Club after recovering from a stab wound to her hand in December last year. She has progressed well since then and stormed into contention, but I’m not jumping on the bandwagon just yet. I’ll be backing Karolina Pliskova, although her Wimbledon record might suggest otherwise, with four straight second round exits. This year will be different for Pliskova though, who should taste Grand Slam success for the first time.

WINNER: KAROLINA PLISKOVA

Wimbledon Preview 2Image from twitter.com

Gentlemen’s Bracket

SPOILER alert the ‘Big 4’ in tennis look set to dominate yet another Grand Slam. Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal form seed one though four, all seemingly destined to burn through their quarter of the field to a semi-final berth. A rested Fed-Express, an in-form Rafael Nadal and Djokovic/Murray both looking to get back amongst the trophies means that they may just lay waste to the rest of the men’s bracket.

Dark Horse – Juan Martín del Potro
Speical mention to Karen Khachanov, the 30th seeded Russian who is coming off a successful run at the French Open with wins over names like John Isner and Thomas Berdych, before losing to Andy Murray. An epic third round match looms between del Potro and Novak Djokovic that may halt the Argentine’s chances. That being said if he gets past ‘The Joker’ a deep run is a realisitic possibility.

Bust – Milos Raonic
RAONIC hasn’t beaten a top 10 calibre player since Jan with injuries playing a massive factor for the Canadian in his last few tournaments. He does possess a 7-2 record this year in Grand Slam’s but I think the fourth round is the absolute best Raonic will achieve at the All England Club.

Day Nine: The Championships - Wimbledon 2014Image from news.sportsinteraction.com

Bold Prediction
Dustin Brown takes Andy Murray to five sets in their 2nd round matchup and two of the ‘Big 4’ don’t make the semi-finals.

Final – Roger Federer vs. Andy Murray
IT’S tough to see Rafael Nadal make another Grand Slam final given his last six months. The ‘King of Clay’ will likely succumb to that heavy workload this 2017 has heaped on him so far, opening the door for Murray to make it to the Final at Wimbledon for the fourth time in his career. However, there is no ‘home ground’ advantage for the Brit, with Wimbledon simply belonging to Roger. Seven of his 18 career titles have come on grass in London and he boasts an 88% winning percentage here. Well rested and eager to create more history, expect greatness.

WINNER: ROGER FEDERER

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